Wal-Mart will be a boost for housing market

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 4, 2001

Staff Writer

The announcement of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center for Brundidge made last week has local realtors wondering what will happen to the housing market.

They got some encouraging news from Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford, who addressed that issue before the Pike County Board of Realtors, Wednesday afternoon.

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Lunsford said it was "a team effort" that resulted in Wal-Mart choosing Brundidge over Bay Minette and Crestview, Fla.

"We didn’t know who they were when they first started looking at Pike County," Lunsford said of Wal-Mart.

It took weeks of documents exchanging hands and meetings for Wal-Mart representatives to decide Pike County, and particularly the 300 acres on Pike County Road 6, was the perfect place.

One of the major goals from the state’s position was to bring name companies to southeast Alabama, Lunsford said.

Eventually, everyone proved the location made business sense and a 900,000-square-foot warehouse will encompass 23 acres "under roof" in the near future, Lunsford said.

Last week, officials formally announced Wal-Mart’s intentions to invest $40 million into building a distribution center in Brundidge. Construction on the distribution center is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2002 and be complete in September 2003. Hiring will begin in the summer of 2003.

Lunsford said Wal-Mart looked at four different sites in Pike County before deciding on the one across from the Brundidge Country Club.

During meetings, the economic development team, Lunsford said, talked about lost jobs because of plant closings in the area.

"We tried to show them there was enough labor in the area," the mayor of Troy said.

Discussion of available housing was also discussed and the Board of Realtors helped by providing information on the housing market.

"They looked at Pike County as a whole. They looked at the surrounding area, as well," Lunsford told the realtors.

And, once they got back on the plane, they showed two thumbs up to indicate their pleasure.

"The economic development team did a great job," Lunsford said. "We wanted to put our best foot forward. That’s important in a situation like this."

He said relocations due to the Wal-Mart Distribution Center are expected, which translates into more business for local realtors.

After discussing the Wal-Mart news, Lunsford touched on other topics that he expects to also bring more to Pike County.

Lunsford wants to put some focus on increasing retail business.

"This is where I want some very serious effort, this year," Lunsford said, adding improvements being made in downtown Troy will, hopefully, help.

He would like to see a major department store choose Troy as its newest location.

"We feel like we have a story to tell to get someone here," Lunsford said.

Lunsford said another target is companies that use plastic as raw materials and companies which can provide parts to existing industries.